The Legions of Fire is Historical Fantasy: It takes place in Ancient Rome while Tiberius is emperor, only that Rome is called Carce, so that Drake doesn’t get punched by history nerds. Though the history nerds would have just about zero reason for punching him – Drake majored in history (with honours) and Latin, and it shows in loving background details. All other names stayed the same as in our history – Gaul, Carthage, Germany etc, even Octavianus Augustus, so I didn’t quite see the point of calling it Carce. Either do Rome, or go the Codex Alera route.
The protagonists – youths from military and senatorial backgrounds, respectively, plus their closest adults – slowly come to realise that world-ending magic is attacking the empire, and work against it. The story draws liberally from Roman, Norse, and Greek mythology, and mixes them very well. The level of attention paid to details and consistency is very nice.
I felt that the characters were on the two-adjective side if we’re being generous, but I enjoyed them nonetheless – the honourable military youth, the clever, awkward son of a senator, the insecure, irascible daughter of a senator, the loyal clever servant etc etc. The second half of the book takes place in magic/dream worlds, and I felt those were weaker and more chaotic, and suffered from break-up-the-party syndrome. Overall this was a fun and rewarding reading experience.